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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0008-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-06-14

14th.

Last Evening the wind freshened considerably, and we have now a very fine breeze. It began to be necessary, for the continual { 279 } calm, that has reign'd, almost all the time, since we left L'Orient have lengthened our Voyage very much. I have now no hopes of being less than 50 days at Sea. I fear more. By coming for the trade winds, the passage may be much longer than to go northward of the western islands, but, it is commonly much surer. By the other way a vessel in this Season, may be 3 or 4 months at Sea, which very seldom happens when they take this route.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0008-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-06-15

15th.

Still a fine wind. Yesterday, we ran 50 leagues, and in all probability we shall not do less to day. By yesterday I mean the Solar day from noon to noon, the manner in which all nations compute time, at Sea. At about noon we saw a sail at a considerable distance, but we did not remain long in sight of one another. In the evening our wind fell a little.
Mr. Bouchant the surgeon of the Packet is about 30 years old. The surgeons on board all the vessels belonging to the King of France are called chirurgiens majors and in conversation they are address'd monsieur le major, so that I have been obliged to day to ask his name: he appears to be a very good man, and to be well versed in his profession. He affects no pedantry, and is an excellent Companion, as well as a good surgeon. These are the officers on board the Packet, who keep the Captains Company, and live at his table. On board their frigates and men of war the officers are in greater number and there is commonly a chaplain in addition to the rest at the Captain's table. On board the English ships, the Captain has his own table, and the officers a seperate one. There is in the English Navy, a much greater distance between the Captain and the officers, than in the French. I don't know which custom is preferable but in case of an action, in war, you hear much oftener the french officers complain of their orders being disobey'd, than among the English. I don't know but it is owing to this manner of affecting a great distance between the rank of their officers. The old maxim familiarity creates contempt is certainly a very good one, and is almost always true.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0008-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-06-18

18th.

Our wind is still good but is almost all gone, and we have not run more than 20 or 25 leagues, within the last 48 hours. This forenoon we saw something at Sea, but we could not distinguish { 280 } what. Some said it was a very large piece of wood. Others, were of opinion, that it was a boat overset. It pass'd at a small distance, and amused us for half an hour. At Sea, such is the continual sameness of the surrounding objects that the smallest trifle becomes interesting, and is sufficient to excite our curiosity and occupy our attention.